What Is Family Karma?
We may have incarnated into a family for certain lessons and experiences they provide. They may pass down traits, negativities, traumas and shortcomings to us and other family members from generation to generation.
We can build up a lot of 'cause and effect' within a family. Family members have certain collective beliefs, behaviors and energy patterns which we adopt because we are totally immersed within that family environment. We perceive these as normal because children are very impressionable and soak up their environmental conditions and beliefs like sponges.
So whatever the beliefs, values and behaviors are held by a family, we take on similar traits. They cause us to feel and behave in a certain way. Their 'causes' have a lot of 'effects' on us. Plus our behaviors cause a lot of effects on them.
So, a family holds a collective vibration that is passed from generation to generation. Karma is all about cause and effect, and our family causes many effects on us and we cause many effects on them.
- A set of parents pass along a constant fear of things going wrong and behaviours such as constant fussing or worrying. This has an affect on the children.
- A family might always be at each other's throats, touchy or taking offense. These behaviors affect the attitudes and well-being of all family members.
- If all of the individuals within a family are doctors and lawyers, then there is a lot of pressure on new family members to become the same, the effect of this might be stress.
- If family members have the collective belief that the males in the family will die by age 60, family members are more likely to manifest this outcome. There are collective effects on everybody.
So these are collective vibrations handed down from generation to generation, generally perceived as normal by all members involved.
Here is a book explaining the Buddhist point of view on Karma in general: Karma: What It Is, What It Isn't, Why It Matters.
Ways To Break Family Karma
1. Become aware of and awaken to family karma.
Realize that the environment you have been experiencing is not necessarily optimal. See the effects that have been caused.
2. Say to yourself; 'The cycle stops with me'.
3. Learn from your family karma.
What causes their behaviours? What are the effects on everyone within the family? If we learn from the experiences that we are being exposed to, we can release the karma. If we do not learn the lessons, then we may need to repeat them later in this lifetime or in another Lifetime. By paying attention to the lessons that your family teaches you, we can release the karma and move on.
4. Change your beliefs and behaviors.
You may have picked up many limiting beliefs and norms of behavior from your family. You can say to yourself:
- 'That is not the way I choose to parent my children'.
- 'That's not the family environment I choose to have'.
- 'I will try my best to make amends with my family'.
It may feel tricky to make amends with your family, but this is also great for eradicating karma.
By changing your beliefs and behaviors, you are undoing what you took on while immersed in the family environment. Again the cycle stops with you.
5. Lead by example so that other family members see there is another way.
You can change how you interact with your family.
- For example; if they are wrapped up in religion, you can show them that you are perfectly well and happy being outside of it. They may accept this eventually.
- Another example; if they pass down a collective belief of hardship, you can show them that you are capable of manifesting all kinds of abundance.
- If they are all quite sarcastic to each other, you can show love. You are showing another way of behaving. They may not change right away, but it will definitely cause a stir. Leading by example illustrates the possibility of new behaviors that they can adopt.
6. Realize that it is OK to distance yourself for a while from your family.
It's perfectly acceptable to take a step back while you rediscover yourself. As you are unpicking many of your old beliefs and norms of behavior that you picked up from your family environment (and this has been part of you and you are now in the process of rediscovering yourself), you will need time to figure out the 'new you' and gain confidence in yourself once more.
7. Change the way you think about your family.
You may still be emotionally dependent on your family, for example, still seeking validation from your mother or father that you are doing well. As children we look to our parents for validation and reassurance, and we still take this need into adulthood. We can cut the emotional cords of attachment to them so that we are not so affected by their behaviors towards us. You can try this cutting the cords guiding guided meditation that I have created Cutting The Cords Meditation.
8. Have forgiveness for family members.
Forgiveness is the major eradicator of karma. Understanding leads to forgiveness. If we have understanding of why our family members act the way they do, then it's easier to forgive them. Oftentimes our parents are grown wounded children themselves; they are suffering and in pain, or merely do not understand what they do. They behave in these ways because it is normal to them because it was handed down. We can have understanding for this and attempt to forgive them.
If we have learned the lessons these experiences bring and we have forgiveness for our family members, then there is no need to go through these lessons again, the karma is dissolved. The cause and effect stops.